Updated: May 14
“The system is broken!” we valiantly declare. Injustice, tyranny, and greed run rampant and unchecked like a bull in heat. Scarcity, lack, and starvation cannot convince empathy for the meek from the addiction of more, more never enough!
Who made the system? “We, the people,” everybody knows, but everyone stays silent.
Who agreed to the system? “Not me!” we squeak. “If it was up to me, it wouldn’t be like this! I am weak and powerless against the system! What is one in the face of many?”
Who sits idle while blaming the system? “It is too hard! I don’t know where to start! I am scared. It has been this way so long, I don’t know I could stand the change. I am comfortable in my complacency.”
Who is an intrinsic part of the system? “We, the people.”
Who has the power to dismantle the system? “We, the people.”
Who is the reason the system still stands tall? “We, the people.”
We are a vast ocean of individuals. Would the tide shift if the every drop of water failed to swim toward the shore? We are drowning in our learned helplessness. Is it our fault we were never learned to swim?
We tread water while capitalism’s marketing adds a boulder to each ankle every time a commercial sells you something by making you feel not good enough. Step 1: create a problem that no one had. Step 2: solve that problem with a skin cream. Step 3: profit off the feeling of insecurity just created by the campaign. Step 4: when the Earth is on the brink of collapsing under the pressure of never ending consumerism, blame somebody else.
There’s an app for that, just add this, cover that, hide it, flaunt it, fake it till you make it, be anything but yourself, there’s always room for improvement. It only works for as long as we believe we should be dissatisfied. It relies on our collective belief that we are full of sin, the dirty must repent, that there is no other way, but through the holy hands of mass consumerism and national debt.
Under the guise of “doing good” and “making your life easier” corporations rape the Earth, while the poor suffer the consequences with compound interest.
There is no such thing as “good” and “bad”. Life simply “is”. We are here to move through it. We are here to breath. Did you breathe today? That is something to be proud of. Do you realize how incredible it is that you breathe?
The only way we can now define ourselves, and our actions is through sustainability. Sustainability can be applied to everything. When sustainability is our guide, there is no grey area, the answers are clear, the result is justice and equality for all things. Sustainability makes room for all.
Is the current economic system sustainable? No, approximately 0.6% of the world’s population hold the majority of the wealth.
Is the travel and tourism industry currently sustainable? No, it is responsible for one tenth of the world’s pollution.
Is the current method of industrialized farming and pesticide use sustainable? No, it is creating food devoid of nutrition, poisoning the earth, the water, and the very insects we rely on to carry out pollination in our food production.
Is the current way we treat mental health sustainable? No, there is no amount of drugs you can give someone long term that will solve the problems created by living unsustainably in any area of life. You will require more and more drug as time goes on, unless you restore the core issue back to balance.
Is addiction to money, food, drugs, shopping, gambling, sex, exercise, the next best thing sustainable? No, eventually, every addiction hits the metaphorical wall, and life in excess in these ways wreaks havoc on more than just the individual facing the struggle. We need to take back control of our minds. We need to know recovery is possible.
Is excessive positive thinking to the point of making irrational decisions because you believe in the power of positivity to the point that it clouds out reality sustainable? Is self-improvement to the point of never allowing yourself to be human sustainable? Is it sustainable to be in a constant state of negativity sustainable? Absolutely not. Overly positive thinking actually leads to poor decision making. Constantly telling yourself you are not enough through incessant “self-improvement” is just as toxic as complacency: both tell your body, mind, and spirit that you are not enough the way you are. To be clear I am not saying don’t better yourself or strive to, I am talking about the extremes. Extremes in and of themselves could be considered an addiction, or habituated behaviors derived from a sense of unworthiness.
I am not attempting to diminish or dismiss the issues of the world with what I write. These are only just a few examples of how to apply the idea of sustainability to our decision making. I certainly do not have all the answers. I am aiming to establish a baseline for guidance in our future decisions as a collective. We are at a pivotal moment in our humanity. We need to have a better way forward that is good for all inhabitants of this beautiful planet we call home because we are the system, we are one with the system, we are all intrinsically connected to the system, if one thing suffers, all things suffer. We, the system, have the power to make or break the system, we can forge a better way forward.
The choice is ours. The time to act is now. Choose sustainability.